Tottenham Hotspur would have loved to take a clean sheet and a lead into their Champions League second leg against Ajax next week, but neither was possible for Pochettino’s men.
After a sluggish start, Spurs were pegged back early by a Donny Van de Beek strike, a goal that would prove to be the difference between the sides.
Here are five things we learned from the loss to Ajax:
Good young side-
Much has been said about this young Ajax side, and Spurs were never going to underestimate the Dutch side. The youngsters knocked the ball about for fun in the first 25 minutes, carving through the Spurs press time and time again. One touch football, high pressure, and clinical in their taking of chances, it is not difficult to see why this team beat Juventus and Real Madrid. It will be a tough job for Spurs in the Netherlands.
The tie is not over-
Having said that, no matter the initial quality from Ajax in the first half, Spurs were by far the dominant force in the second 45. Dele Alli had the best Spurs chance of the second half, striking the ball straight at the keeper. Spurs continued to enjoy the majority of possession, but couldn’t find that final killer pass and finish. It must be remembered that it is only half time though, and Spurs still have a great chance to progress.
A big win would have been ideal, but the fact that Spurs are still in the tie is good news for Pochettino. With no Son, no Kane, no Winks, and Sissoko unable to start, as well as the fact that Ajax had a free weekend to prepare, the tie could have easily gotten away from Tottenham. However, they stayed strong and compact, giving themselves a chance in the away leg, when hopefully Son will return.
Despite Vertonghen’s concussion being nasty to watch, Spurs improved dramatically after he went off. Rose went back to left back and Sissoko came on to boss the midfield, giving Spurs a much more balanced shape. It also freed up Eriksen and Alli to do a little more going forward.
Whether it’s Van de Beek, Ziyech, De Ligt, or Neres, Spurs should be looking to raid Ajax once again this summer for some top talent. Some great prospects for the future and Ajax are always likely to sell.
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